Mitigation Update: Raising Awareness of Carbon Footprint to Trigger Behavioral Changes
UN Photo/Pasqual Gorriz
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The UN Environment Programme has entered in a multi-year partnership with Formula E, the world’s first fully-electric single-seater racing series, with the aim of improving inner-city air quality by raising the profile of alternative energy solutions and increasing the uptake of electric vehicles.

UN Environment has reported that approximately 200 million Chinese are using an app that tracks purchases made through a payment platform to award “green energy points” in the Ant Forest Program.

Four African countries, Djibouti, Cote d’Ivoire, Somalia and Ghana have signed the framework agreement to join the International Solar Alliance.

22 May 2017: From a report on Norway’s energy policy to a partnership to raise awareness of air pollution and a financial app that reduces the carbon footprint of consumers, a number of recent developments have focused on climate change mitigation, including the reduction of emissions from energy consumption. These initiatives contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 7 (clean and affordable energy) and 13 (climate action).

To achieve a low-emissions pathway, awareness raising and behavioral changes will be key. Two recent developments are aiming at educating citizens on their carbon footprint. The UN Environment has entered in a multi-year partnership with Formula E, the world’s first fully-electric single-seater racing series, with the aim of improving inner-city air quality by raising the profile of alternative energy solutions and increasing the uptake of electric vehicles. According to UN Environment, the partnership will also educate future consumers of electric cars, and “challenge major cities and governments to take action to tackle pollution.” This partnership will thereby contribute to efforts to reach SDGs 3 (good health and well-being), 7 (affordable and clean energy), 11 (sustainable cities and communities) and 13 (climate action). [UN Environment Press Release]

In other awareness-raising news, UN Environment has reported that approximately 200 million Chinese citizens are using an app that tracks purchases made through a payment platform to award “green energy points” in the Ant Forest Program. The app, developed by Ant Financial, a leading digital financial services company, uses a scoring system based on how environmentally friendly a purchase is, for example buying a metro ticket instead of fuel for a car. The points allow users to grow virtual trees and compete with friends. UN Environment pointed to the untapped power of digital finance to “mobilize people in support of sustainable development and the fight against climate change.” The app will contribute not only to achieving SDG 13, but also SDG 12 (responsible production and consumption), in particular target 12.8 (By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature). [UN Environment Press Release]

An IEA report warns that as the world looks to cut its reliance on fossil fuels, Norway should consider preparing for a future with lower oil and gas revenues.

A key element of climate change mitigation is the shift to zero-carbon energy. Recent news from Africa and Norway have focused on the issue of increased renewable energy uptake. The Government of India has reported that four African countries – Djibouti, Cote d’Ivoire, Somalia and Ghana – have signed the framework agreement to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA). According to the Indian Government, there are a total of 31 signatories to the ISA framework agreement, and six countries have ratified. The ISA will come into existence as a legal entity once 15 countries ratify and deposit the framework agreement.

The ISA is a common platform for cooperation among sun-rich countries lying fully or partially between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn that are seeking to massively ramp up solar energy, thereby helping to bend the global GHG emissions curve while providing clean and cheap energy. The activities of the ISA will contribute to achieveing SDG target 7.2 (By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix). The initiative was launched at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, France, in December 2015 by the President of France and the Prime Minister of India. [Government of India Press Release] [ISA Website]

The increasing uptake of renewables implies a decrease in fossil fuels, which will significantly affect the economies of countries exporting this type of energy. This was one of the messages of the report of the International Energy Agency (IEA) on Norway’s review, which warns that as the world looks to cut its reliance on fossil fuels, the Norwegian Government should consider measures to prepare for a future with lower oil and gas revenues. [IEA Press Release] [Energy Policies of IEA Countries – Norway 2017 Review]

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